All of a sudden, it seems that everything has gotten so much more sophisticated on the WorldWide Web.

Since James and I gave away our television to a thrift store in St. Louis in March of 2002 — we couldn’t STAND it anymore! — most of our news comes from the computer.

During most of this five-year period, news videos on the online New York Times and abcnews.com have been cumbersome, awkwardly put-together, glitchy, and stuttering with poor picture quality.

But seemingly overnight, the online news videos are now very polished, sparkly and glitzy, rather than glitchy, with Google Earth satellite maps and more sophisticated graphics. They didn’t seem to be like that a few short months ago.

The merging of television with computer continues apace. It will not be long before we all have just one little box to watch. Later, we’ll probably have implants so no hardware will be necessary.

Just now I saw the United Kingdom from space, a living example of those flat one-dimensional maps we perused as children, suddenly ZOOM IN to show the actual street-grid of London as the announcer glibly and very quickly narrated short bursts of sound-bytes about the latest Terrorist Threat.

Amazing.

I know this is old hat to you veteran internet habituΓ©s, but somehow it comes as a surprise to little old me at the moment. I guess I’m just naive.

It has just suddenly hit me how I’m feeling older, more quickly than I should. I feel like things are racing away from me at an ever-increasing pace these days, as though I’m never, ever going to be able to keep up.

Do any of you feel this way too?

It seems that the world is changing and evolving so rapidly now that we are forced to accept it all, hook-line-and-sinker, just in order to SURVIVE.

And be somewhat coherent about it, and be able to navigate through the ever-more-complicated technological intricacies facing us every moment.

For me, technology has always been a double-edged sword. We have become such slaves to it. We need to buy new computers to accommodate new software every two or three years (at the most!) so we can “keep up”. Americans in particular do not want to be left behind.

Many of us sit in front of computer screens for hours on end, whether at work or at home. Then when things crash, we feel totally bereft. Where have our lives gone? Into electrical gadgets, I think.

Let’s not even TALK about this iPhone thing — except that it’s a four-letter word starting with “H”, ending with “E”.

Yet, part of me wants one.

But there are so many wonderful aspects to being online: communication aurally and visually, and my personal favorite: the written word, exploding in rapidly-multiplying blogs, emails, video conferencing and Instant Messenges.

And I especially enjoy sharing my music, on a much greater scale than I could have ever imagined a few short years ago. I’ve participated in the online musical community at MacJams since 2004. It’s a wonderful bunch of people, mostly. It’s much like the blogging community, except that it has a musical twist.

These online communities are richly interactive environments, bringing millions of people together.

So why am I feeling so conflicted?

On one hand, I hope that I can keep up reasonably well with my online presence, and not be too much of a rube. On the other hand, I am about to move to a place where I will hopefully “get back to basics” in a fashion totally alien to many of us. Kerosene lamps in the river cabin until we get electricity. Outhouse. Chopping wood so we can stay warm in the winter.

My soul welcomes this, in fact yearns for this attempt at simplifying my life. Getting outdoors, using my body more. Trying somehow to recapture something from the past, living life more fully. At least, more peacefully.

Living in the Woods, “with a modern twist”, of course. I am not quite ready to give up modern conveniences like being online. Yet.

We will get satellite, since the land is in the thick of the mountains, no cable, no cell phone service.

Guilty as charged: I am still a slave to Technology.

[Next possible rant: The WorldWide Weather.]